The UNC Fed Challenge team took its act on the road last December, and came in second in the nation in the annual inter-university competition in monetary policy design.
Each year at UNC, a team of three to five students undertakes research and data analysis under faculty supervision. They design their proposed monetary policy and then travel to regional competitions to present their proposals before a panel of judges. At each competition, the winner moves forward to face winners from other regions. At the pinnacle of this tournament a national champion is chosen, with judges from the staff of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington, D.C.
Carolina’s Federal Reserve Challenge Team, coached by Dr. Mike Aguilar, won the Region 3 (North and South Carolina) competition for the seventh time in the last eight years in November 2015. The win advanced the team to the District competition in Richmond where they competed against and defeated Virginia Commonwealth University and American University. With the District-level victory – and for the third time in the team’s history – the team qualified for the national competition.
“The team’s success generated record interest from students across campus. The numbers grew so much that for the first time ever, students had to interview for the research team, and not just the presentation team,” reports Dr. Aguilar.
More than ten teams competed in the 2015 Region 3 competition which was recently hosted by UNC at the Kenan Flagler Business School. The Tar Heels prevailed in Region 3 and then prevailed again in the District championship in late November. At the nationals in Washington, UNC lost out to champion Pace University. Runners-up behind UNC were Princeton University and Bentley University.
The Fed Challenge is a tremendous learning experience for our undergraduates. The five-member team benefits, certainly, but they are vetted and supported by a group of ten younger students who compete to step onto the competitive team in future years. All of these students are learning lessons not only about macroeconomics but also about working in teams and presenting ideas effectively. We are grateful to Herbert Brown Mayo for the creation of the Herbert B. Mayo Undergraduate Research Fund that helps defray the costs of team competitions. We’re also grateful to Dr. Mike Aguilar for his tireless work with our Challenge Team.
In the photo: Professor Michael Aguilar and team members Ben Director, Brian Bartholomew, James Williams, Hailey Jacob, Meiyao Tysinger, and Dashiell Mace.